2020.02.19 09:48

In push for ties with Japan, Vilnius welcomes delegation from Tokyo

BNS 2020.02.19 09:48

As Lithuania pushes for closer ties with Japan, a delegation arrived in Vilnius on Tuesday evening to commemorate the Japanese diplomat who saved thousands of Lithuanian Jews from the Holocaust.

Japan's Vice-Consul Chiune Sugihara lived in Kaunas between 1939 and 1940. In cooperation with Dutch Honorary Consul Jan Zwartendijk, he issued thousands of 'visas for life', helping at least 6,000 Jews escape the Holocaust.

Read more: 'I just pitied them' - quiet Japanese diplomat who saved thousands from Holocaust in Lithuania

Nobuki Sugihara, his son, joined the delegation led by a special adviser to the Japanese prime minister.

The delegation includes around 200 peopl, which arrived on a special flight named 'the friendship flight', initiated by the Lithuanian honorary consul, the Lithuanian presidential office said.

In 2019, Japan and Lithuania signed two cooperation memorandums, and earlier in January, Japan's state-owned investment bank expressed interest in the Rail Baltic, energy, and startup projects.

Read more: Lithuania to dedicate 2020 to Sugihara in push for closer ties with Japan

On Wednesday, the guests will be received by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda and First Lady Diana Nausėdienė. On Thursday, an exhibition to mark Sugihara's 120th birth anniversary and the 80th anniversary of his deeds during the Second World War will be unveiled at the Lithuanian parliament.

The Lithuanian Seimas declared 2020 the year of Chiune Sugihara as the country marks the 80th anniversary of his activity in Lithuania's second-largest city of Kaunas as well as his 120th birth anniversary.

Sugihara died in Japan in 1986.

Read more: New documents reveal fate of Sugihara who saved Jews from Holocaust in Lithuania